Jack Kingston: Use Debt Ceiling Vote to Demand Huge Reforms

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Nov. 30 2010 1:00 PM

Jack Kingston: Use Debt Ceiling Vote to Demand Huge Reforms

I posted last night about the Tea Party Patriots conference call that introduced activists to the candidates to run important House Committees. One thing I didn't mention yet: Both candidates to run the Appropriations Committee, frontrunner Jerry Lewis and movement favorite Jack Kingston, said they intended to oppose an increase in the debt ceiling, which could come in February.

Lewis was quick and blunt. "It's not my intention to support an increase in the national debt," he said.

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Kingston agreed -- "It would not be my intention to do it" -- but he took the opportunity to uncork a longer explanation. The whole thing:

There could be an opportunity in terms of a trigger, though, that if there's a huge crash in the U.S. bond market, or overseas financial pressures change the formula, than what I think the Republican Party should do is say, if we get a spending cap, Gramm-Rudman type law in there; if we can get rid of all the unused stimulus funds, and if we get rid of all the used TARP funds, and if we can get private control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and root out some of these other government problems... in other words, there would be a big price for this, in terms of politically, for the president, to say, look, you've got to have this. This is what it's going to take. And you could actually use a modest increase in the debt ceiling to leverage your ability to pass into law lots of long-term stuff that actually would help bring down the debt and the need to ever have to increase it again. The only reason why I say this is that there are some international implications. You see what's going on right now in Spain and Greece and Ireland. We're not part of the EU. We don't want any system like that. But we need to make sure we keep our sovereignty and financial viability.

So, no.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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